Giving Myself a Law: Nietzsche, self-respect, and the problem with Kant's universalism

Iride: Filosofia e Discussione Pubblica 2 (2) (2018)
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Abstract

This paper offers a new interpretation of Nietzsche’s criticisms of Kant’s account of freedom and renders these criticisms in such a way as to pose a serious challenge to Kantian ethics. My first aim is to explain Nietzsche’s challenge to the principle that being free means acting as a free agent ought to act, which I call Kant’s universalism. My second aim is to show that Kant’s accounts of self-respect is a particularly unconvincing account of how we can make room for virtues within a universalistic framework, and thereby persuade the Kantian that there is something wrong with the underlying universalism principle.

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Matt Bennett
University of Essex

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